Jan. 31, 2009
HONOLULU, Hawai'i - Senior Eric Vance pounded a season-high 32 kills but No. 2 Cal State Northridge dropped its first match of 2009 as No. 12 Hawai'i upset the Matadors 21-30, 30-28, 22-30, 30-23, 15-12 in the opener of a two-match MPSF series Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
With the win, the Warriors improve to 2-6 overall and 1-4 after winning their first MPSF match. The loss, Northridge's first of the season, drops the Matadors to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
Vance hit .385 on the night as the senior had his season-high 32 kills in a season-high 65 swings. He also had six digs and a pair of blocks. Jacek Ratajczak also hit well as he added eight kills (.353) and a team-high seven blocks. Tanner Nua chipped in 12 kills and three aces but hit just .000 and Mike Gaudino had 10 kills (.129) and 13 digs. Libero Ali'i Keohohou recorded a match and season-high 19 digs which was one off his career-high.
The Matadors had 71 kills as a team to 46 for the Warriors but committed 33 service errors and were out-blocked 19.0 to 9.0.
"We need to put this match behind us," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "We definitely need to play better tomorrow."
Northridge took an early 4-1 lead in the opening set capped by back-to-back kills from Kevin McKniff and Matt Stork. A 3-0 Matador run at 12-11 opened up a four-point cushion at 15-11 following a Nua ace. Northridge took a six-point lead at 19-13 after Steven Hunt's attack went long forcing a Warrior timeout. From that point on the Matador lead was never less than five points and swelled to as many as nine after Jim Clar's attack went wide. A Gaudino kill kept Northridge on top by nine at 29-20 before Vance's fourth kill of the set gave the Matadors set one 30-21.
The second set was a much tighter affair as neither team led by more than two points until the Warriors took a three-point lead at 17-14 on a Matt Rawson kill. Earlier in the set with Hawai'i up 4-3, Vance put down his sixth kill of the match which moved him past Dan Rhodes and into 10th place on the Northridge career kills list with 1,164. Vance's 32 kills gives him 1,190 career kills.
The Matadors continued to trail until a Vance kill evened the score at 20-20, the 15th tie of the set. A Nua-McKniff block and another Vance kill put Northridge up 22-20 forcing a Hawai'i timeout. The Matadors also led 23-21 before the Warriors claimed four of the next five points to take back the lead for good at 25-24. Northridge pulled within one four times in the latter stages, the last at 29-28 after a Vance kill, but Ratajczak served long on set point and Hawai'i pulled even with the 30-28 win.
The Matadors jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the third set and also led by three at 10-7 following a Nua kill. A Vance kill gave Northridge a four-point cushion at 12-8 forcing a Warrior timeout. The Matador lead grew to as many as five (14-9) when Brennon Dyer was called for a net. A Sean Carney hitting error gave Northridge its biggest lead of the frame at 24-16 and the Matadors led by eight twice more down the stretch before Nua served for the set. Nua's ace gave Northridge the set 30-22 and a two sets to one lead.
Hawai'i led early in the fourth set 6-3 after McKniff's attack was stuffed at the net. The Warrior lead was as many as four points (8-4) before the Matadors went on a 7-2 run capped by a pair of Vance kills followed by a Nua kill as Northridge took an 11-10 lead. But Hawai'i used a 4-1 run out of the timeout to take a 14-12 lead. The Warrior lead swelled to five at 20-15 after a Ratajczak hitting error and Hawai'i continued to build its lead. A Dyer kill put the Warriors up 24-17 forcing a Matador timeout and Northridge could not get within six points to rest of the way.
The Matadors trailed for the first 11 points of the fifth and deciding set before a Vance solo block and a Joshua Walker hitting error drew Northridge even at 6-6. A Nua service error following a Hawai'i timeout put the Warriors in front to stay at 7-6. The Matadors played catch-up from that point on ultimately falling behind 11-7 on a Walker kill. A Warrior service error and a co-block from Gaudino and Ratajczak got Northridge within 11-9 and the Matadors also trailed by two at 13-11 and 14-12 but could get no closer and Walker's kill on match point ended the match.
Cal State Northridge and Hawai'i wrap up the two-match series on Saturday night. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. HST.